London Fashion Week is here and over the next few days thousands of people will descend on the capital to watch catwalk shows and see the latest trends. But behind the flashbulbs and celebrity sightings there's some serious business at work.
The UK fashion industry is one of the most vibrant and creative business sectors in this country, with show-stopping talent, craft and ingenuity, and at the heart of this is an industry that directly contributes over £6.6billion to the economy.
From Marks and Spencer to Stella McCartney the UK's fashion brands are an important part of our heritage and our unique and innovative designers are some of the most recognised in the world. But too often the economic impact of fashion isn't recognised and it's time we appreciated the industry not just for its creativity and vibrancy but for the huge role it plays in our economy too.
Designer fashion in the UK alone employs over 25,000 people and is responsible for £7million worth of exports. And the sector is growing. Sales of UK designer clothing have been rising by around 20 per cent a year in the last decade and are currently worth between £2.5 and £2.9billion.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by numbers but the success of the UK's fashion industry means that we have to do all we can to recognise and encourage it's continued growth in the future.
More often than not designer fashion creates ripples that spread throughout the rest of the clothing sector and these examples of exciting, high quality design can eventually influence clothing styles and colour ranges across the UK and abroad.
The power of personal expression in our wardrobes is also a powerhouse for the UK economy. Visiting London Fashion Week I got a real feel for the passion and drive behind all of the people working in the industry. We're working hard to ensure the climate is right for growth by supporting UK manufacturing and giving future designers the skills they need, so the UK remains at the forefront of fashion and design and builds on its world class reputation.